Week 12: Mary Lou Retton Moment


I was 10 years old in 1984 when Mary Lou Retton became America’s Sweetheart at the Olympics. I was as much of a tomboy as you could be and yet, I suddenly found myself out on the driveway attempting to do cartwheels and handstands because I wanted to be just like her. I suddenly wanted to be an Olympic gymnast and I made a pact to practice for hours on end until I could wear the spandex and salute the crowds after a Perfect “10” vault jump. Big dreams for a short, chunky, tomboy who, up to this point, had only really excelled at basketball, softball, wiffleball and football–you know, the stuff four big brothers make you play.

Obviously, I never pursued the red, white and blue spandex with any more vigor, but I have to admit I had another one of those “Mary Lou Retton moments” this weekend upon hearing that Austin’s Desiree Ficker had run the Ironman of her life to come from 16th on the bike to place 2nd in KONA. Suddenly, I felt inspired to do the same. It didn’t seem totally out of touch. I heard that little voice going, “You could do that someday!” (Not win, of course, but at least participate) See, unlike Mary Lou Retton, I’ve personally experienced the force of Desiree. I’ve competed in some of the same races she has dominated. We follow her progress in Austin through her Coach (and mine) Gilbert. It was only compounded when my darling fiance said, “You should just do the Ironman in Hawaii next year and we’ll have our wedding there in Kona!” His “ha ha ha,” was followed by my “hmmmmm….”

In all honesty, this is not my time for Ironman. Maybe someday, but not now. Maybe Kona, but probably not. There’s this little thing called “qualifying” that has to take place first! I’d love to look at IM Arizona or IM Couer d’Alene, but not for a couple of years. Right now, I’m focusing on getting through the next two months of my life alive and well.

All of the stresses are beginning to converge and that delicate balance that I felt a couple of weeks ago is getting a little unstable. This weekend, we have to move to temporary housing YET AGAIN because our home still isn’t finished. I can’t tell you how unsettling it’s been moving twice, living out of a box and a closet and sleeping on an air mattress. Thank God we have a sense of humor about it, but even the humor fades after a month. My Half-Ironman and Marathon training is getting harder and harder because the days are getting shorter and shorter and my valid excuse list is growing longer and longer. I talked Turkey Trot the other day. I try to fit in email correspondence and paperwork regarding Turkey Trot either before work or after work (thus making the days even shorter). Oh yeah–then there’s that work thing with deadlines and stuff. How dare my retail clients want to place some holiday advertising!! While we’ve talked wedding, we haven’t started planning yet, which stresses me out knowing the longer we wait to set a date, the harder it is to plan. Breathe sister, breathe…one thing at a time.

Two days in a row now I’ve slept in and skipped my morning workouts with the “I’ll go at lunch” excuse. I ran 8 miles on Monday. Yesterday, I never actually left the office until almost 7pm so it became a “rest day.” We’ll see what happens today. My alarm went off this morning and I heard rain outside. Thinking no one would be running, I slept in and just drove by Runtex on my way into an work. You can imagine the guilt as I drove by familiar cars of those who sucked it up. My swim suit, running clothes and bike are all in the Element ready to go. No excuses…I must swim at some point today.

The next four weeks are going to be crazy, but I know I’ll come through unscathed with more gratitude than ever before. We should all be so lucky to have such exciting things happening at once. Even Mary Lou Retton would be jealous of me…

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4 thoughts on “Week 12: Mary Lou Retton Moment

  1. Give yourself a break. You are awesome! And, you’ll do great at your race even if you took the next two weeks off completely. Just remember, until you are getting paid to train like the pros, don’t put that kind of pressure on yourself. P.S. – If ever you are looking for a swim buddy, let me know. I’m actually supposed to swim this evening with my group, but weather may change that.

  2. Forget Mary Lou, I’m jealous….no, acually elated for you. You do have a lot of exciting things happening and life sounds good. Balance is far easier to in reality than in our minds. Why do we make it so hard (or just don;t see the light?) Have fun with it all and don’t let any of THIS time in your life pass by unnoticed!

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